Professional Development

In the 'ALA Annual' Category...

Lauren at ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando

Friday, July 8, 2016 5:32 pm

Productivity with vendors (book and ILS), committee obligations, and future of cataloging were the three main themes for me in Orlando. Meetings by chance also played a key role in making this an above average conference for me.

I caught up with our Casalini sales rep on how to implement a more Gobi-like version of their fresh interface which will help me and Linda, along with a few others here at ZSR. I met our Eastview sales rep, who had helped us with one of our year-end purchases and I finally broke a logjam around finalizing a license agreement with Springer. For about a year I’ve been talking with colleague and Springer employee Robert Boissy about overcoming discovery discovery problems (with linked data), so he mentioned an interesting new vendor, Yewno. The shortest way I can explain is that it is like a discovery service (e.g. Summon, EDS) but uses artificial intelligence and visualization. They ingest content after they have agreements in place, but I was told at the Yewno booth that it isn’t pre-indexing like the discovery services we know right now. It definitely bears watching as they grow. Maybe the Google of academic content? It reminds me of an internet search engine I used over a decade ago, KartOO, which has been completely closed down, but maybe it was just ahead of its time.

(captured from the Yewno website for illustration)

(captured from the Yewno website)

I continued work on two division-level committees: the ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee and the ALCTS Advocacy and Policy Committee. Now that the conference is over, I’m officially the chair of latter. The group will be working on ALA’s Advocacy Implementation Plan. I saw WSSU colleagues Wanda Brown and Cindy Levine at the Opening Session. I commented to them that I felt like I had been to church after hearing the speaker, Michael Eric Dyson. (I believe he said he was a minister earlier in his life. His inflection surely seemed indicative of it!) Cindy may be joining the Advocacy Committee as a result of that chance meeting. I also attended the Closing Session where Jamie Lee Curtis captivated me with the way she revealed her forthcoming book and perspective on belonging and immigration, at a level that kids get. The title is This Is Me: The Story of Who We Are and Where we Came From — the library edition will not have the pop-up, because Curtis understands how that is a problem for libraries. Both speakers were highly complimentary of libraries and librarians, and far more dynamic and poignant on their topics than I can illustrate. You simply had to be there. I had the good fortune to get in line for the Closing Session with the exiting President of ALCTS, Norm Madeiros, and we conversed about the state of ALCTS membership (declining, like others) and the wonderful value we get from our association. Norm is sincerely worried and he has raised my level of concern, which I think will nicely feed into my work with ALCTS Advocacy. (See also Thomas’ post re: ALA Divisions and membership decline. Norm was at the same “free” lunch with Thomas.) Incidental meetings like this at ALA are just as important as the unexpected exchanges we have with colleagues in crossing the building here at ZSR in our daily work.

At Norm’s President’s Program, Dr. Michael R. Nelson, spoke about “Enabling Innovation in the Era of the Cloud–A Syllabus.” He had a great long list of books as “recommended reading.” In random order from my rough notes, here are just a few sample titles and my memory jogs about them: Drive by Daniel Pink (bonuses are bad unless done in way everyone thinks is fair); Words That Work by Frank Luntz (get complicated ideas into simple bumper stickers and add two good factoids); Beyond the Gig Economy (today’s kids will have about 20 jobs in their career); Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age by Steven Johnson (or watch this); Art of the Long View by Peter Schwartz (or his short essay in Wired in 2009, “Your Future in 5 Easy Steps” and see also the “app.”)

Regarding the future of cataloging: I attended a number of sessions where I heard updates about BIBFRAME and linked data and a little about library migrations from an integrated library system (ILS) to a library service platform (LSP). Come see me if you want more details. Carolyn’s , Jeff’s and Steve’s posts also offer some insights and they can also tell you more than they wrote. I heard details from them when we gathered with members of Special Collections earlier this week to share what we learned. Also Steve recently sent email about a series of webinars from ALCTS that many of us will watch. To my mind, the future of cataloging is a heavy consideration as we investigate next generation systems. I stopped by the booths of multiple vendors of LSPs and will share some observations at an upcoming meeting of the ILS Task Force.

 

 

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 9:24 pm

At this year’s Annual conference, most of my time was spent attending various committee meetings and fulfilling my duties as Secretary of the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL by taking minutes at said meetings. After serving on the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee for the past five years in some capacity (e.g. member, Co-Chair, Chair), I chaired my last meeting of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee. Additionally, I attended the Anthropology Librarians’ Discussion Group where Dr. Richard Freeman, who is a librarian at the University of Florida at Gainesville, presented on the topic of visual anthropology in which he provided historical background on the topic and shared information about his own personal work in this area.

I was able to attend a few cataloging programs. At the Copy Cataloging Interest Group (CCIG), I heard Philip Schreur discuss Stanford University’s involvement with Linked Data for Production (LD4P), a project funded for 2 years by the Mellon Foundation that involves 5 other institutions (Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Library of Congress, and Princeton). Schreur reported the goals of LD4P are to redefine technical services workflows (acquisition to discovery) to ones based in Linked Open Data (LOD), produce metadata as LOD communally, enhance BIBFRAME (BF) to encompass multiple formats, and engage the broader academic community. Stanford has looked at their vendor supplied records from Casalini and have utilized tracer bullets in redefining their workflows. Stanford is working with Backstage so that they will become familiar in receiving BF records, and they’re also working with OCLC to be able to send them BF records instead of MARC. Also at CCIG, Dianne Hillman spoke on the benefits using Open Metadata Registry (OMR) to develop specialized vocabulary for specialized collection needs. Inclusion in OMR can help prevent the abandonment of good vocabulary. Catherine Oliver spoke about the issues she’s faced in cataloging Holocaust denial literature at Northern Michigan University. Having these works included in a library’s collection is challenging. They promote hate and often appear scholarly which in turn makes it difficult to know what to do with it. Ms. Oliver pointed out that the Library Bill of Rights provides guidance on avoiding prejudicial labeling of materials. Library of Congress does separate out Holocaust denial literature with 2 subject headings (Holocaust denial and Holocaust denial literature). Determining which of the 2 headings to apply can at times be tricky. She decided to examine cataloging records in OCLC of every English expression of 6 specific Holocaust denial titles, looking specifically at the records call numbers and subject headings. When cataloging Holocaust denial works, she made the decision to not include other subject headings (e.g. Anne Frank, Auschwitz) in the records because she did not want these titles collocated together. She does include additional access points for Holocaust denial literature presses so that people can search for works by a publisher’s name.

“It’s not a question of IF, but WHEN: Migrating to a Next Generation ILS” was the title of the program hosted by the Catalog Management Interest Group that I attended. Library staff from the University of Minnesota Libraries and University Miami Libraries both spoke about their individual experiences transitioning from Aleph and III’s Millennium respectively to Ex Libris Alma, and a librarian from Rutgers University Law Library spoke about her institution’s experience going from Millennium to Koha’s open-source system.

Steve Kelly and I both attended a program on open editorial and peer review that we heard about at the Technical Services Quarterly editorial board meeting/dinner. Cesar Berrios-Otero, Outreach Director for Faculty of 1000 (F1000), spoke about fixing scientific publishing’s archaic model and speeding up discovery. Per Mr. Berrios-Otero, the anonymity of peer review have caused journal retractions to skyrocket. At F1000, the publishing process has been flipped. Once a author submits their paper and open data, a cursory review takes place, and within 7 days or less, the paper is then published. Peer reviews by invited reviewers, which lends transparency to the publishing process, commences. Authors can resubmit revised versions of their paper after addressing reviewers’ comments. Referees and their affiliations are named, and their reports and comments are visible to anyone. The benefits of this new model include:

  • Publishing process has sped up.
  • There is visible discussion between referees, authors, and editors which aids in putting the paper in context.
  • Authors can demonstrate that their papers were reviewed by top people in their field.
  • Reviewers can take credit for their hard work as well as their experience as a reviewer.

Matthew Gold, Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities at CUNY, Graduate Center, wants to see a hybrid publishing model utilized (i.e. a peer review stage with community feedback that then moves to a more traditional editorial mediated process with substantive comments). He outlined the benefits and dangers of a completely open peer review model tied to open access.

Benefits include:

  • Building a community around a text before it it’s published as well as an audience.
  • Enlarging the diversity and the number of perspectives brought to bear upon a text under review.
  • Connecting scholarship with public at an earlier stage of publishing process.

Dangers include:

  • Superficial comments rather than comprehensive, structural feedback or lack of feedback.
  • Reluctance to offer strong critique in public venue.
  • Opening up authors to abuse and mistreatment. Moderation must be considered.
  • Open review exhaustion. It takes time to build a community of reviewers.

Karen Estlund, Associate Dean for Digital Strategies and Technology at Penn State University Libraries, discussed the open peer reviewed journal with which she is involved publishing, Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology. The journal’s origins came out of a conference and began publication in 2012 by Fembot and the University of Oregon. Experts in the field were recruited to set the journal’s standards. Experts in the field review submissions and provide authors 1-2 page reviews with suggestions on how to make their paper publishable elsewhere or suggestions for resubmission. Interactive works that the journal publishes also go through an open peer review process as well. Pizza and soda are served at the journal’s peer review editing parties.

 

 

 

Susan’s ALA Annual 2016 – Orlando Report

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 4:53 pm

The Orange County Convention Center welcomes ALA to Orlando

If it’s late June, it must be time to jump on a plane and travel to some uncomfortably warm location to attend ALA Annual. This year the conference was held in Orlando and prior to the start of the conference the national news was filled with multiple terrible events occurring there. So, it was a unsettling time to travel to Orlando. ALA responded with recognition and programming. There was a memorial service for the Pulse shooting victims (video 1, video 2) and a blood drive. I was fortunate to attend a scheduled session that featured Congressman John Lewis along with his co-authors of the graphic novel March. Because he had just been in the news the same week in the Congressional sit-in, his appearance and talk brought the audience to their feet in support of his efforts. It was an inspiring program.

John Lewis arrives to a standing ovation

Most of my conference was spent in LITA (Library Information and Technology Association) meetings and programs due to my role as LITA Director-at-Large. One of its signature events, Top Tech Trends, had 5 panelists this time around and a bit of a format change. After each panelist briefly proclaimed their “trend” (concepts, collecting real time data, virtual reality, balance of security against access, super easy application development), a half hour was spent asking for panelist responses about information security questions that were posed. This was followed by a discussion of maker space trends and examples. My favorite exchange were the questions “what may be the most useless trend?” [Answers: YikYak, IOT (Internet of Things)] and “What tech things are you sick of hearing about?” [Answers: 3D printers, smart watches, maker spaces].

It seems I went with the “top trends” theme this time in my limited program attendance between meetings. I heard one of the expert panel members (Lindley Shedd, U of Alabama) from the NMC Horizon Report – 2015 Library Edition. She talked a bit about the process for paring down a huge list of possible topics to 18 ( a focus on emerging technologies in libraries – six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments). You might enjoy looking at the project’s workspace wiki to more about how the project is implemented. It was interesting that she compared this report with the recently published 2016 Top Trends in Academic Libraries to see what correlated between the two.

My next “top trends” was a LLAMA-BES panel session on Top Building Trends 2016. The panel contained both architects and library directors. Some gems from the session:

  • (Looking for relevance in today’s environment?) Nothing transmits irrelevance like leaking roofs, old paint and furniture, outdated infrastructure.
  • Lost arts – a place for community to come together. Not so much maker spaces as most know them. These range from garden to cooking to candlemaking).
  • How can we make the collections (you know, those pesky books in stacks) attractive and focused part of the experience? Check out the book mountain in a Netherlands library. Maybe more useful in our library, consider lowing the stacks.
  • Restrooms are a top trend. The call for gender neutral has architects looking for new ways to design them.
  • Flexibility in a building means fewer permanent walls are being built.
  • A move toward pop-up instruction/event space.
  • Outdoor space is becoming more important – green space, outdoor movie screens, outdoor programming.
  • Look to other industries for trends that could be valuable. Example cited: the hospitality industry focuses on transforming people from one point to another (the first 25 feet sets the experience).

My final comment has to do with how much walking one does at a typical ALA conference. In Orlando, the West Convention Center was connected to hotels, North/South OCCC halls and heaven knows what else. I had no trouble exceeding my 10,000 steps per day goal!

Get Your Steps In

 

Mary Beth @ ALA16-Orlando

Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:59 pm

My ALA conference was focused on two primary objectives: begin work related to the Sustainability Round Table, (SustainRT, to which I was just elected Member-at-Large) and get as much information on diversity and inclusion through ALA’s diversity programming as I could squeeze into my schedule. The work of the SustainRT board started early as I was representing SustainRT to the Round Table Coordinator Assembly on Friday morning. Since no other member of SustainRT arrived in Orlando early enough to attend, I was invited to represent the group. This group was made up of all of the chairs or coordinators of the round tables in ALA. The agenda was mostly about issues related to round tables’ functions within ALA, (like how to archive the born digital meeting minutes, and how libraries are using the ALA “Libraries Transform” media campaign.) I was rather surprised at how many Round Tables ALA has. (Disappointedly, we actually sat at rectangular tables.)

I am also SustainRT’s representative to The Office of Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services in ALA. This office supports libraries in their efforts to expand Equity, Access and Diversity. I participated in a SustainRT panel discussion called “Planting the Seeds: Libraries and Librarians as Change Agents for Sustainability in Their Communities,” which happily also got a mention in the American Libraries Magazine blog. I discussed ZSR’s efforts to reduce waste generated during our semester’s end Wake the Library events.

It was quite serendipitous that John Lewis, fresh from his sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington DC, was scheduled to speak about his graphic novel series called “March”.

ALA president Sari Feldman introduced John Lewis, his co-author, and his illustrator to a very full ballroom. His words were moving, heartfelt and inspiring. My favorite quote when talking about the influence public libraries have over youth was when he said “Encourage kids to get into trouble, necessary trouble, continue to do just that!” He and his co-authors earned several standing ovations. Earlier that morning, I also attended a memorial service for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. John Lewis also made a brief appearance there and offered words of support. The memorial had speakers Sari Feldman along with members of the GLBT Round Table and Social Responsibilities Round Table. There wasn’t a dry eye anywhere around me.

The most helpful Diversity and Inclusion session I attended was one entitled “No Room at the Library: the Ethics of Diversity” in which the programmers offered, through skit form, four different situations related to marginalized people and had us react to the question “how would you handle that situation?” The members of the audience then got up and gave their reactions, based on library policy, or sometimes just on what they thought was right. One situation discussed how to handle a request for a community room for a group who wanted to have a meeting that excludes white people so they can have a frank discussion about racial inequality in their community. Another was about whether it is important to intercede in a conversation between a youth and his mother when his mother is committing a microagression to a staff member wearing a hijab. The reactions to these important questions were fascinating as we frankly discussed options. Everybody’s position was “right” even if they were very different. Such is the nature of ethical dilemmas.

ALA Annual in Orlando will go down as one of the best, and certainly one of the hottest ALA’s I’ve attended. (The humidity even made it feel as though it were hotter than Vegas to me.)

Also, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a Member-At-Large of SustainRT if I didn’t encourage you to join the round table. The cost is just $10 per year and you can add it to your ALA membership at any time!

Heat, humidity, & a provocative conference experience

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 12:44 pm

ALA Annual 2016 turned out to be one of my most thought-provoking ALA experiences.

Emerging Leaders

This annual conference concluded my participation in the Emerging Leaders program. My team and I developed policies and practices for MAGIRT (the Map & Geospatial Information Round Table) to contribute their records to ALAIR (the ALA Institutional Repository). The intention of the project was to serve MAGIRT, but also to provide a model to other ALA units. In fact, I learned of several other groups that are working to the same end — ALCTS PARS Preservation Standards & Practices Committee, GameRT, ACRL’s Anthropology & Sociology Section — so we’re also continuing to reach out and make our resources known for others to build upon. Our outputs are undergoing approval by MAGIRT Exec right now, and when they become publicly available in ALAIR (of course!) I’ll share them here, too.

During the Emerging Leaders workshop on Friday, I learned about ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries led by Miguel Figueroa, whose charge is to:

  • Identify emerging trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve
  • Promote futuring and innovation techniques to help librarians and library professionals shape their future
  • Build connections with experts and innovative thinkers to help libraries address emerging issues

I immediately subscribed to the Center’s weekly newsletter, available as an email or via RSS. Highly recommended! You might also explore the ‘manual for the future of Librarianship’ and Miguel’s analysis of emerging trends with implications for libraries.

Socially Conscious Librarianship

The programs I attended clustered around a theme of social consciousness — from collecting subversive materials, to facilitating community archiving of social movements such as #BlackLivesMatter. Memorably, Jarrett Drake (digital archivist at Princeton) asserted that traditional archives are imbued with patriarchy & structural inequalities. If organizations are interested in archiving activism, they should do so as critical allies & anti-racist institutions. Libraries & archives must build trust, not in the name of collection development (give us your stuff), but in the name of allyship. We can, for example, partner with communities to meet their own needs through instruction, resource-sharing, advising upon community archiving efforts, and providing non-surveilled meeting spaces for activists. ZSR’s partnership with the congregation of St. Benedict the Moor engages these very questions, focusing first on the needs of the congregation.

Of particular interest to me was a panel of women in AUL-level positions focusing on library technology, including Jenn Riley and Karen Estlund, about their career paths and managing structural inequalities that they encountered even in libraries.

Designing ACRL Communities of Practice

Since the ACRL’s Digital Humanities Interest Group was formed a few years ago, it has been the beating heart of my ALA communities. After a few years of fabulous programming and initiatives such as dh+lib, the group is thinking about its future. Interest groups are not permanent units in ACRL, but rather start-ups. They exist for a term of 3 years with one renewal. DHIG will certainly renew; then, looking ahead, there’s the question of what’s next. Section status? Allying with the Digital Curation Interest Group, Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group, and others to make the case for section status? For now, though, possible goals of the DHIG we articulated include:

  • cultivating a community of practice and/or learning communities
  • cross-pollinating across ALA units
  • cultivating individuals’ personal, experiential development as librarians engaged in digital humanities

Expanding upon that last point, we talked about emboldening librarians to see themselves as DH practitioners, as people with expertise & experience to bring to bear on digital humanities scholarship & pedagogy (metadata, preservation, subject knowledge, project development, design, and still others).

Lots of thought-provoking conversations at ALA — but I’m looking forward to not conferencing for a while!

Chelcie at ALA Annual 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 8:22 am
San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge seen from the Golden Gate Promenade (June 29, 2015)

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge seen from the Golden Gate Promenade (June 29, 2015)

Getting my feet wet with committee service (not, alas, in the Bay)

The overarching theme for my ALA 2015 was getting oriented to committee service. For the past two years, I have co-led an interest group on Preservation Metadata within the Preservation and Reformatting Section of ALCTS, which has been a great opportunity to educate myself on a narrow but pertinent subject for my work overseeing our digitized special collections. At ALA in San Francisco I led my final interest group meeting and began to serve on two ALCTS committees, which are less specialized but more broadly engaged in the profession.

This year’s ALCTS President’s Program Committee is charged with planning a day-long symposium at Midwinter in Boston, as well as the President’s Program at Annual in Orlando. The committee actually started meeting virtually before the official July 1 start date. I’m really, really excited about the speaker we’re inviting for the ALCTS President’s Program, but she (that’s your only clue) hasn’t accepted yet, so I have to stay quiet.

I’m also thrilled to join this year’s LRTS Editorial Board. As a newbie, my primary role will be to serve as a peer reviewer of submitted manuscripts assigned to me by the editor. I’m very much looking forward to participating in the process of developing our field’s body of literature from the vantage point of an Editorial Board. As a once-upon-a-time writing consultant, I believe that offering quality feedback ultimately makes you a stronger writer yourself.

ACRL Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group

As Susan mentioned, she and I both attended the ACRL Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group, a newly minted interest group formed in response to the proliferation of Digital Scholarship Centers at campuses all over the map. Joan Lippincott reported on the results of CNI’s Digital Scholarship Centers Workshop, a summary and synthesis I was fortunate to hear at the CNI Fall 2014 Membership Meeting. Also presenting were Zach Coble (Digital Scholarship Specialist) and April Hathcock (Scholarly Communication Librarian) — two people who fill roles very similar to mine and Molly’s within ZSR — about Digital Scholarship Services at NYU Libraries. It was heartening to hear that our Digital Scholarship Unit at ZSR faces many of the same opportunities and challenges as their unit at NYU. We have also developed a similar suite of services with similar staffing resources. Following our unit’s retreat next Monday, we hope to have a plan to clearly communicate our unit’s identity clearly and succinctly, internally and externally.

ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group

Since I’ve been attending ALA, I’ve been attending meetings of the Digital Curation Interest Group. In fact, it’s where Molly and I met for the first time! So it was a pleasure to be one of the presenters this year — on using BiblioBoard Creator to build online exhibits of special collections materials. Thanks to our friends at BiblioLabs, we’ve gotten to play with this new product for building online exhibits almost as soon as it was on the market. Consequently, we’ve been able to offer constructive criticism during a formative stage for BiblioBoard Creator. The story I was trying to tell during my presentation was (1) engaging audiences with institutional history on- and off-campus (2) engaging students in curatorial activities and (3) seeing ourselves as development partners with BiblioLabs, in the same way that we see ourselves as members of other, open-source development communities.

Building Library Exhibits with BiblioBoard Creator from Chelcie Rowell

Sarah at the APALA 35th Anniversary Symposium & ALA Annual

Monday, July 20, 2015 11:45 am

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) celebrated its 35th anniversary with a daylong Symposium on June 25th at the University of San Francisco. ALA President Courtney Young and President-Elect Sari Feldman opened the Symposium. The keynote speaker was Valerie Kaur, civil rights lawyer and documentary filmmaker. The theme of the Symposium was “Building Bridges: Connecting Communities through Librarianship & Advocacy”. Over 100 librarians, presenters, community activists, and writers/artists/filmmakers came together to celebrate this milestone.

My term as Secretary of the APALA Executive Board ended at ALA Annual. I became well-versed in parliamentary procedures through monthly virtual Executive Board meetings, and I gave an overview of Robert’s Rules of Order for incoming Executive Board members at ALA Annual. I also served as Co-Chair of the Archives and Handbook Task Force and co-authored the APALA Operational Manual, which was approved by the Executive Board in June 2015.

It will provide a reference for the Executive Board officers and committee chairs on committee procedures and timelines as well as provide a better understanding of the organization for succession planning.

I have been a member of the ACRL Science & Technology Section (STS) Continuing Education Committee for 3 years, and we met on Saturday morning. I am continuing to monitor the STS listserv for announcements of upcoming conferences, including science librarian boot camps, and uploading the conference links to the CE Professional Development webpage. The Continuing Education Committee also co-hosts the STS Membership Breakfast, which I helped organize. We had a great turnout, and here are a couple resources that were shared at the breakfast:

http://insidescienceresources.wordpress.com

http://iue.libguides.com/STS-informationliteracyresources

I also learned about a new-to-me teaching methodology called the Cephalonian Method, which was used in the STS College Science Librarians Discussion Group with pre-canned questions on color-coded cards for the audience. The Cephalonian Method was created by two UK librarians to increase participation in the middle of class. I’m planning to use the Cephalonian Method in my library instruction and LIB220 Science Research Sources and Strategies course.

 

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015 7:51 am

When I first heard ALA Annual 2015 was going to be held in San Francisco, I knew this was one ALA I did not want to skip. Having been once before with my husband at one of his conferences, I was excited to return to this beautiful, historic, and exciting city. Those three adjectives could not have rung truer than on June 26, 2015, the day the SCOTUS declared marriage equality for all to be the law of the land! Such a beautiful day!

Moscone Convention Center

 

Annual 2015 began with me attending my first ever all-day preconference, which was sponsored by ALCTS (Association for Library Collections & Technical Services), OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers), and the Video Round Table. Video Demystified: Cataloging with Best Practices Guides presented attendees with an overview on cataloging video recordings using RDA (Resource Description and Access), MARC21, and the recently published (January 2015) best practices cataloging guides for DVD/Blu-ray discs and streaming media. Because most of my work is DVD cataloging, I found the preconference especially worthwhile and informative as this was the first officially (i.e. ALA, OCLC, Library of Congress) sponsored face-to-face training I’ve received on RDA cataloging. Most of my DVD cataloging with RDA education has been through watching webinars (not the most useful), utilizing an online guide developed by Stanford University’s metadata department (very helpful) and the RDA Toolkit, and review of the ZSR RDA Workshop LibGuide created by Leslie McCall as well as consultation with her and Steve Kelley to clarify issues with RDA. Attendees participated in guided exercises and took home a workbook that contained all of the day’s presented PowerPoint slides.

While at ALA, I attended 4 ACRL Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) sponsored meetings/sessions: the Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee (SBAC) of which I chair; the Executive Committee meeting; the Libraries behind Bars: Education and Outreach to Prisoners program that was co-sponsored with ACRL’s Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) and Literatures in English Section (LES); and the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. I was unable to attend the ANSS Social due to having to attend the editorial board dinner for Technical Services Quarterly (TSQ); Steve Kelley and I are the new co-editors of the journal’s book reviews column. We dined at the Stinking Rose: a Garlic Restaurant, where I got to try delicious garlic ice-cream (another first).

Social Justice Librarianship: Focus on Ferguson & Black Lives Matter was the topic discussed at the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. Librarians Makiba Foster (Washington University in St. Louis) and Niamh Wallace (University of Arizona) spoke about their roles as academic librarians in helping the Black Lives Matter movement.

Observing a lack of quality information and misinformation pertaining to the police shooting of Michael Brown and the events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, Ms. Foster created the FaceBook page Resource List on Policing and Community Protest which contains specific categorized lists for a variety of topics (e.g. policing, grief & trauma, community protest & unrest, personal rights, and local community organizations). Two weeks after its posting, the university gave the green light to post it as a LibGuide. The digital repository Documenting Ferguson (DF) followed. The DF project team was comprised of members from several library units (e.g. special collections, copyright, reference, etc.) who wanted to assist in the preservation of their regional and national history. Ms. Foster’s role was to seek out community engagement for content. She partnered with an African American Women’s History professor whose sophomore seminar students (1/2 her class) developed interview questions and conducted oral histories of individuals living in Ferguson or the areas particularly affected by the protests and unrest, many of whom worked at the university. Specific community activists were interviewed also. Interviewees were selected based on their response to a faculty call out by the library, each signed a participant consent form. The oral histories captured in the digital repository include the interviewees’ names so that researchers would know that all persons interviewed actually lived in Ferguson. Ms. Foster admitted that content from the oral histories was one-sided as individuals with opposing views (i.e. supporters of Darren Wilson) were not interviewed for the project. She also stated that some people wanted no association with the DF project due to potential backlash, although they were proud to be working on the project. The digital repository for this particular project is semi-anonymous as some participant uploaded content is traceable only by an email address. Digital stations are being set up to capture images. There is a need to employ one person working solely on this large project, and grant funding is being investigated She closed by saying that the library will soon be preparing for 1 year memorials and commemorative events; a regional meeting is in the works to discuss collecting efforts; and marketing strategies to increase participation will be reassessed.

At Ms. Wallace’s institution, she also created a LibGuide to Ferguson resources for instructional purposes. Consent from the university’s IRB was unnecessary. Liaisons whose subject areas were relevant to the creation of this resource were asked to solicit feedback from their faculty. The LibGuide was used as a resource listing for a Black Life Matters Conference held on campus this past January. No negative feedback was received, and Ms. Wallace stated that she is not trying to capture opposing viewpoints in this research guide. More work is being done to update the guide with information about the recent June 17th church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

Other sessions I attended included

  • Maryanne Wolf’s Lessons from the Reading Brain: 3 Short Stories about Deep Reading in the Digital Age, which Lauren so aptly covered in her blog post
  • 2 sessions on linked data: Getting Started with Library Linked Open Data: Lessons from UNLV and NCSU, on which Lauren again reported, and the Linked Library Data Interest Group. The interest group session was comprised of a panel of 2 speakers. Kristi Holmes (Northwestern Medicine) provided an overview on the Cornell-developed open source semantic web application, VIVO, was presented. VIVO harvests data from verified institution data sources, and allows institutions to showcase their researchers’ credentials, expertise, and skills. A VIVO institution’s library can provide its faculty product education, training, and adoption utilizing liaison outreach, ontology and controlled vocabulary expertise, negotiating with data providers, programming and technical expertise. Cornell’s Steven Folsom reported on the Linked Data 4 Libraries Mellon funded grant between Cornell, Stanford and Harvard. One can search for works by individuals and discover additional works of interest based on connections to other people. Utilization of URIs in MARC records that align with VIVO can enhance an academic library’s catalog. Cornell has rolled out an authority browse in their Blacklight catalog. Using 3xx field data in his authority file generates data and provides context about him and what what he does professionally. Theses advisors’ names appearing in a MARC 700 Personal Name field can now be enhanced with VIVO URIs. A post-processor to provide entity resolution of URIs is required for the evolving BIBFRAME. A limit of its ontology, this means that linked data within the BIBFRAME platform cannot have multiple URIs for an individual. BIBFRAME RDF still makes heavy use of strings which are a dead end for linked data.
  • Resource Discovery in the Age of Wikipedia: Jake Orbwitz and Alex Stinson, both of The Wikipedia Library, shared reasons why Wikipedia matters for librarians and various ways in which librarians can become involved in Wikipedia. In addition to adding information and citations from a library’s collections, librarians can teach “Wikipedia as a Starting Point” workshops, run an editathon, and donate images. Libraries can also sponsor a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar to create quality content for Wikipedia using their individual institution’s resources.

After my last Monday session at ALA, Lauren, Derrik and I took a bus to tour the Internet Archive (IA) founded by Brewster Kahle. Housed in a former Christian Science church, the IA’s mission and purpose is to provide free access to collections of digital materials. The Wayback Machine, a digital archive of the World Wide Web, was created by the IA. Such an impressive place and leader.

Brewster Kahle stands in front of the Internet Archive’s server, which is housed in the church sanctuary.

Touring the basement of the IA with Brewster. In the background, IA employees digitize video materials

Clock in IA basement.

Hanging in the IA's basement is an animation cel of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and their WABAC Machine, which was used to transport the two back in time to visit important, historic events.

Hanging in the IA’s basement is an animation cel of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and their WABAC Machine, which was used to transport the two back in time to visit important, historic events.

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful dinner organized by Susan of past and present ZSR colleagues. It was great catching up with Lauren Pressley and Erik Mitchell, and Erik’s partner Jeff Loo. Also worth mentioning is the fabulous final dinner in San Francisco that Susan and I had at Burma Superstar. All in all this was a great ALA, and I hope I get another chance to visit San Francisco in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MBL at ALA15 in SF

Thursday, July 9, 2015 5:17 pm

This ALA Annual in San Francisco marked a high water mark in my ALA going experience. I was happy to present a poster session as the final assignment as chair of ZSR’s Assessment in Action team, and I did so along side of Meghan Webb, my fellow AiA team member. Assessment in Action is an ACRL grant funded program whose purpose is to build capacity in Academic Libraries to conduct high level assessment projects that will demonstrate the value of the library to the larger institution.

Our project focused on finding out how students define a successful year, and determining if the library was truly helping them to meet their goals. (Since our mission is to help students, faculty and staff succeed, this seemed a logical question to pursue.) The poster session was very busy. Many of the attendees, admittedly, were either past or future participants in the Assessment in Action project. (Assessment in Action is a three year project, and I applied for and was granted the opportunity to participate in the Year 2 cohort.) I heard positive feedback about our process, namely our decision to have students define success themselves, instead of using some academic definition like their position in class, or their GPA. We also heard positive comments of our use of graphics on our poster. Many of the year 3 Assessment in Action participants made note of the infographic we used to define our conclusions, and found it a powerful way to create meaning while minimizing text. Year 3 participants hoped to use such a method in their own poster a year from now. I appreciated having had the opportunity to chair such a vibrant and engaged team that included Meghan Webb, Le’Ron Byrd our former ZSR fellow, John Champlin of the Professional Development Center, Ryan Shirey of the Writing Center, and Glenda Boyles from the Bridge.

In attending sessions, my experience was better this year than previous years, either because I’m better and sussing out what will be the most helpful sessions to attend, or maybe sessions were just better overall. The sessions were quite varied, though, so “themes” are difficult to identify. I’ll give my biggest takeaways here.

Gems from Gloria Steinem’s opening keynote:

Gloria Steinem started her speech by reading a segment from her book My Life on the Road. She spent most of the time with the attendees answering questions that they posed. Among her best quotes:

–“The truth will set you free–but first it’s going to piss you off”

–“The single greatest stimulus to the economy our country could ever have is equal pay.”

–“The paradigm of ‘most violent societies’ is also the paradigm of strict heirarchy.”

–“The voting booth is the only place on earth where the richest people have no more power than the poorest people.”

–“Laughter is the only free emotion. So don’t go anywhere you can’t laugh. In fact, libraries should put up signs that say ‘No talking/but laughter is OK!'”

In responding to someone who said “I’m humbled to be in your presence,” she said “But I’m here to make you not humbled!”

She also recommended two books Sex and World Peace (which ZSR owns as an ebook) and The Mermaid and the Minataur (which ZSR owns in print.)

Assessment:

Whenever I am at ALA or ACRL I always seek out opportunities to sit in on any session that Lisa Hinchcliffe (form ACRL president, AiA team leader, Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction at the University of Illinois) is giving. This conference she presented as a part of a panel discussion entitled “All the Data: Privacy, Service Quality and Analytics.” Her co-presenter was Andrew Asher from Indiana University. They each had strong but different perspectives of the amount of data we keep about our users and what we should do about it. Lisa’s position was that we should be open and honest with users about what we keep and why, but not actively keep no data, since the recognizing patterns in the data allows us to improve services. Andrew was of the opinion that libraries should keep the absolute minimum data about users, even if it means we sacrifice the ability to improve services. Both interesting perspectives! The one point both agreed upon is that academic libraries, in order to ethically manage data and be responsible to our patrons, need to investigate and contractually agree upon exactly what data our vendors are keeping about our patrons every time they use information in one of their databases. “If you can’t control it, disclose it” became the mantra. Also, only track that information which you might care to analyze. If you won’t be analyzing data to improve services, don’t track it at all.

Merging public services desks:

Another very interesting session I went to was entitled “To Merge or not to Merge?” Three libraries gave their perspectives on the success/failure of a merging operations that had been in separate desks into a single service point. I’ve been to many of these sorts of sessions over the years hoping to gain some insight into what could be a very difficult transition in co-locating disparate services, even in such a friendly place as ZSR. This one was refreshing in its candor. Here are some of the takeaways from the different libraries’ presentations:

–Planning starts at least a year before the actual change with input from all sides about what exactly will take place at the desk, what will take place away from the desk, and how those operations will coordinate.

–When two groups of people are serving the same function at the same desk but are at two different pay grades, morale will decline.

–Communication is the key to making over the transition, and continues after the combining. It is an ongoing struggle to communicate enough.

–Deciding in advance that the new desk is not a merger of two different desks, but instead is a whole new service, might help ease the transition. Be clear and obvious about how and what you decide will happen at the desk.

–The most successful model (by that I mean, the desk with the happiest staff) moved reference librarians off of their desk, did training with the circulation staff to give them the ability to triage the easiest questions and provided methods to pass along the harder ones without judgement. Reference librarians used their former desk time to increase liaison contacts, do more teaching, embed in instruction, etc.

I don’t know what ultimately our flavor of “merger” will take, or how soon it may happen. There are as many options as there are libraries merging desks. Every time I attend a session on this topic I get more comfortable with the idea, and more aware of the responsibility to make sure we do it right because it is fraught with opportunities to do it wrong.

Finally, because it’s ALA at San Francisco, a few photos: Chinatown, Pride Parade, and a vendor visit with an awesome booth!

 

 

Kyle’s ALA 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 5:10 pm
The Internet Archive: IRL

The Internet Archive: IRL

My ALA conference started with an unconference that presented the lens through which I was to view almost everything else that happened in San Francisco. This is going to be more of a thematic post than a play-by-play. Stay with me here.

#critlib: context and an unconference

One of the most interesting things I’ve been following for the past year or so has been the emerging community that’s calling itself #critlib, short for critical librarianship, which meets every other Tuesday on Twitter under that hashtag (more about the chats here and here). In these chats, participants wrestle with the concept of critical librarianship, which, for the purposes of this post, I’ll paraphrase as the application of critical theories to library practice: challenging racial, gender, socioeconomic, and other structural inequalities through the work we do as librarians (more about critical librarianship here, and check out the Zotero group if you want a deeper dive). The energy from this group is refreshing and relevant, especially in light of Ferguson and Charleston. (You might have heard of #charlestonsyllabus. You might not know that it was a few #critlib people who helped put it together.)

Anyhow, as a white male raised in a middle-class family, I have more to learn from this discussion than to add to it. When I heard that there was going to be a #critlib unconference on the Friday of ALA, I signed up immediately. About 100 of us gathered in the Gleeson Library on the beautiful hilly campus of the University of San Francisco for a full day of lively discussion. Being an unconference, there was no facilitator for any of the breakout sessions (the rule of the day was “there are no experts”). In the first round, I decided to make myself somewhat uncomfortable and attend a session called “Working in the patriarchal library/why are all my administrators dudes?” It’s really no secret that there is a disproportionate number of male administrators in this female-dominated profession, which I’ve always felt weird about. But since I might one day decide to pursue library administration, I wanted to learn about the things that I should pay close attention to in order to avoid being one of “those” male administrators. The key advice from the others in the room: listen more than you speak, and use your privilege to give voice to those being marginalized.

LITA, all-male panels, and responsibility

I was confronted almost immediately with what I’d learned at the unconference. As a member of LITA’s Program Planning Committee, I was asked to introduce a panel and do some general LITA hype work. I showed up to the panel, read my piece, and took a seat to hear what the panelists had to say. Then I looked at the panel. Five middle-aged white dudes talking about library technology, introduced by an (almost) middle-aged white dude representing a library technology association. The panel was great, but I couldn’t help but think of the message the makeup of the panel was sending.

Later that same day, I was set to present as part of my own panel–this one on library support for MOOCs. The organizer hadn’t provided me with a lot of detail ahead of time, so I showed up without any knowledge of who else would be on the panel. Sure enough, I was part of my very own all-male panel. It was like a punch to the gut.

Had these things happened just a week earlier–before my unconference experience–I wouldn’t have thought twice about them. I’ve presented on all-male panels before. I’ve attended plenty of them. The takeaway, for me, is that being aware that male voices are dominating certain conversations makes me responsible, inasmuch as I’m able, to use my privilege and my position on planning committees to ensure that a diversity of voices get to be heard. That means encouraging panel organizers to seek out additional voices. That means organizing diverse panels of my own. That means turning down invitations to speak if it’s clear that I’m just another dude voice in a sea of dude voices.

Plenty of awesome things

Phew!

As personally challenging as much of my conference was, there were still plenty of awesome things to bring home:

  • Not surprisingly, lots of folks were talking about the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. One particularly interesting panel introduced me to Champlain College’s stellar inquiry-based IL program. There are really too many good things to say about it here, but I was very impressed with the fact that they eschew teaching tools in favor of wrestling with “big picture” questions related to certain frames. And check out that curriculum map! I do love me a good curriculum map.
  • Flipping the one-shot was another motif I saw pop up a few times. Librarians at the University of Central Florida are having their students complete online tutorials before coming to their one-shot sessions, which they’re now using for more active learning.
  • I got to check out the Internet Archive (yes, their physical location!) They hosted a little open house with tours and demos. I took some photos. It was fun.
  • I got to meet Dan Russell, he of Power Searching with Google fame. The Power Searching course was the biggest inspiration for creating our first ZSRx course, and to see Dan in attendance at my panel was a little surreal. Very smart, very passionate guy.
  • San Francisco puts on awesome parades.

So that’s it! This turned out to be a much longer post than I’d anticipated, but if you’ve read this far, I hope you’re able to take something away from it.

 


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